Häagen-Dazs Honors 'Unsung' Founder With New Pints And $100k Grant

Reuben Mattus is often celebrated as the founder of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, but in truth, it was a partnership from the very beginning. Reuben and his wife Rose — both immigrants — met and married in Brooklyn, and founded the iconic ice cream company together in the Bronx in 1960.

He concentrated on the ice cream, while she focused on operations and marketing. It was Rose, along with their daughter Doris, who launched the first Häagen-Dazs shop, which debuted in Brooklyn in 1976. These two women were instrumental in growing the business nationwide, and later, globally.

Until now, Rose's contributions to building the famous ice cream brand have been far less heralded than those of her husband Reuben. But Häagen-Dazs is looking to change that by honoring her in several important ways in association with International Women's Day on March 8. One of them is "The Rose Project," which will provide $100,000 divided equally across five individual grants to those selected through the #WomenWhoDontHoldBack campaign, per a press release.

How Rose Mattus' legacy will be celebrated

Starting March 2, the nomination form for #WomenWhoDontHoldBack will open on Häagen-Dazs' global website, offering the opportunity to highlight women who, like Rose, have not been fully accorded the recognition they deserve for their outstanding achievements. All of the nominations will be winnowed down to 50 finalists before five winners are announced and awarded a grant of $20,000 each to support their exemplary efforts. 

In addition to The Rose Project, Häagen-Dazs celebrate the co-founder's legacy by adding "Rose Mattus Woman Founded Business Established 1960" to its logos across its shops as well as its digital and social channels. It will also rebrand its vanilla ice cream in honor of her. Vanilla, one of the three original flavors that have been around since the inception of the company, was the co-founder's favorite — something she enjoyed all her life until she passed away in 2006.

This flavor will be renamed to the "Founder's Favourite" and free scoops of it will be given away on March 8 at participating locations worldwide. And the company will sell limited-edition 1960 Häagen-Dazs pints of ice cream (vanilla, of course) featuring a Rose Mattus design as a tribute to her pivotal role as co-founder. These commemorative items will be available to purchase throughout March but only in select locations.